Printer Repair – An In-Depth Guide to Various Fixes

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Updated June 27, 2022

When they work properly, printers are the perfect office tool. They are there when you need them and stay quiet when you don’t. However, when you run into trouble with your impressive printer, it can be extremely frustrating. In this how-to article, we cover repair basics and steps for some of the most common printer issues. Keep reading to learn more about printer repair and how you can do it from home.


  • Most printers only need simple repairs, which keeps your costs low.
  • Professional service usually isn’t worth it when compared to the cost of replacement.
  • A good printer reset is usually more than enough to get your printer running again.

Everything You Need to Know About Repairing Your Printer

When it comes to printer repair, there are plenty of things you can do at home before taking the device to get serviced by a repair technician. Printers are more affordable than they’ve ever been but still expensive enough that attempting a repair can save you a lot of money in the long run. Saving on costs is one of the advantages of doing printer maintenance by yourself. You can also reset your printer before you start repairing it, as the issue may be related to software.


Follow these steps to repair some of the most common issues your printer may experience.

STEP 1 Check All Cable Connections and Outlets

If your printer doesn’t turn on after pressing the button, the problem may be as simple as an unplugged cable. Ensure all cable connections are secure, both on the printer side and the outlet side. If everything is connected, but your printer still isn’t powering on, you may want to check that your outlet is still receiving power. Plug another device into the same outlet to see if it powers on. If your outlet isn’t working properly, you may need to hire an electrician to help.

STEP 2Reset the Printer

While the old “turn it off and on again” trick may seem like a joke in movies and TV shows, it can actually do a lot of good for printers. When you turn the device off and on again, it resets its internal memory and wipes away any temporary errors. Try this if you’re experiencing slow print times, laggy responsiveness, or unreliable operation.

STEP 3 Download the Latest Drivers or Software

Like computers, printers have onboard memory and software that keeps everything running smoothly. Many printers automatically update these drivers and software, but if you’re experiencing slow print times or laggy operation, you may just need a software update. Search for the printer on the manufacturer’s website and then click on the update drivers option. You can usually just Google your printer’s name with the word drivers to find the right page.

STEP 4 Replace or Reset the Ink Cartridge

If you get low ink warnings that just won’t go away, you’ll either need to replace, reset or refill your printer ink cartridge. To reset your ink cartridge, take a paper clip and press the reset button located near the cartridge’s circuit board. Sometimes, you may just have purchased a bad ink cartridge. If this is the case, you should be able to return it to the store.

STEP 5 Clean the Print Head

Most printers are made in a way that they are easy to disassemble. If you’re experiencing problems with blotching colors or sections of your paper that aren’t getting printed, then you may need to clean the print head. Follow your owner’s manual to learn how to get to the print head and then use your denatured alcohol and clean cloth to clean it. Wet your cloth with the alcohol and scrub the print head gently, making sure you get all the nozzles. Try not to touch the nozzles with your bare hands when you replace it after cleaning since this can cause clogs.

STEP 6Service the Paper Rollers

After extended periods of use, the rollers that grab the paper and feed it through the printer can lose their grip. Use your clean cloth and denatured alcohol to the rubber portions on the rollers. This can often restore some grip back to the rollers.

STEP 7 Get the Printer Professionally Serviced or Replaced

If you’ve tried all of the above steps and your printer still isn’t working, it may be time to get it professionally serviced or replaced entirely. Keep in mind that these repairs can get expensive, so it may be more affordable to purchase a new printer entirely.


How do you fix a printer problem?

Most printers can be fixed by simply turning them off and on again, clearing the print queue, or removing and re-adding your printer to your computer. However, you can also take further steps like cleaning or replacing individual components.

Are printers worth repairing?

It depends on the cost of the repair compared to the cost of your printer. If you have a commercial printer worth several thousands of dollars, then repair is almost always worth it. On the other hand, if you have a sub-$200 printer at home, then it’s almost always worth purchasing a replacement. If you can perform the repair yourself, then it is always worth it.

How do I fix my printer that won’t print?

Most times, your printer will give you an error message with details on why it won’t print. Follow the instructions found in the error message. You can also try resetting your printer, canceling and restarting the print, and downloading the latest drivers.

How do I get a printer back online?

Try resetting your home network’s router, disconnecting the printer from the network and reconnecting, and physically checking all network connections, if applicable.

STAT: Professional printer repair costs can range anywhere from $40 to $125 an hour. (source)

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